Here’s a big print blurb I cut out from the NYT:
THE MORE TIME A NATION DEVOTES TO FOOD PREPARATION AT HOME, THE LOWER ITS RATE OF OBESITY. IN FACT, THE AMOUNT OF TIME SPENT COOKING PREDICTS OBESITY RATES MORE RELIABLY THAN FEMALE PARTICIPATION IN THE LABOUR FORCE OR INCOME.
I remember a comment by a Quaker sociologist, one of my favourite women, Elise Boulden (1920-2010), internationally influential in her peace work, always based on family values. She said once that the family was held together by the tablecloth (read: dinner table), that I translated later in something I wrote, as the place mat. Families that eat together stay together. That, of course, involves cooking, not noshing, not taking out or eating alone or in front of the television, or some other screen. That would include banning the smartphone at the table. I read recently of a restaurant dinner gathering when the participants were required to put their cell phones in the centre of the table. The first person to reach for a phone was required to pay for the meal.
Forgive the tangent.
But the cooking - yes, that’s an important, key part of what occurs at the dining table: pleasure in the food as well as in the company. I love to cook, I always plan my meals, I suppose because I am, as you know, a leftover freak. I hate to throw food away. But it has to be interesting and good-tasting. This morning I had Egg Florentine, one egg. I had leftover spinach and beet greens, part of a fish dinner menu I had the other night. I heated them and poach-fried an egg that I slid on top of the warm veg, sprinkled it liberally with crumbled feta cheese and broiled it briefly till the cheese was melty and browning. Num. I’ll use the leftover fish in a famous taco recipe. I looked it up this morning. I had it last at a restaurant in San Diego on one of my cruises. I’ll add a little rice vinegar to the leftover (roasted) beets for instant pickled beets as a condiment.
I’m still talking about obesity, I think. Those meals I prepared are not loaded with fat or gluten or calories or any of those nasty things the food experts threaten us with. Even though I eat alone most of the time, I still spend time on food planning and preparation. It’s good for the morale and the budget as well as the body.
What are you having for dinner?